Monday, August 22, 2016

Book Review: Intercessory Prayer

When I received this book from the Publisher, I had mixed feelings.  I believe in prayer, but I am not a charismatic sort of person and for some reason that is often what I think of when I hear the words Intercessory Prayer.  I think of super spiritual people who have some sort of in with God.  Who express everything in fluently spoken prayers.

Author and Pastor, Dutch Sheets, did a nice job of explaining the world of prayer in layman terms.  I appreciated his insight into what prayer is and how God uses every day people like me to pray that His will would be done here on earth.

There was one aspect of the book which I did not care for.  I did not appreciate the authors sense of humor.  To me it was a little jarring.  I understand that he was interjecting humor to lighten such a heavy topic, but it was not my style of humor.   This is such a minor thing, however, and did not make me dislike the book.
If you are interested in the topic of prayer I would recommend you check out this book as one of your resources.

This book was given to me by the publisher for an unbiases review.  All opinions are mine.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Christmas in July Finish

Look at what I received in the mail today!  I was so excited to learn that I had won one of the drawings held by Carole who blogs at My Carolina Home.  In my box from Connecting Threads I received a mini quilt stand with 4 different headers, a layer cake, and "Itty Bitty Quilts".  I am excited to try out the projects and look forward to displaying them at the office.  It will make my desk a little more homey!

I also finished the 12 Days of Christmas Quilt Along hosted by Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.  I am beyond thrilled at the way it turned out.  I purchased the backing for it and now it just needs to be basted and quilted.  It should be done for Christmas this year.

I was asked to come up with a pattern and make a sample for my local quilt shop, Bayview Calicos.  I enjoy the process of creating patterns.  When I saw the "Northwoods" panel from Northcott, it just screamed "log cabins".  Using a flannel layer cake, the log cabin blocks came together quickly.   Tomorrow I will drop it off at the shop and pet the new fabrics that have arrived this week!

This weekend will be busy with gardening and farming.  Hope to get a few minutes of sewing here and there.  Maybe enough time to make an "itty bitty"!

Saturday, July 23, 2016


Summer has arrived in full force!  According to the weather channel, we are warmer in Michigan than some places down south!   Wheat harvest is finished and now baling straw has commenced.  We waited to unload until early this morning, and I have the privilege to be outside unloading the bales, instead of in the hot haymow!  I love the top photo. Three generations of farmers getting things set up and ready to unload. 

One of many blessings I have in my life are my in-laws.  I love to watch them enjoy each other's company, whether working or relaxing.  Dad is struggling with immense pain in his knee.  In his calm, gentle way, he continues to live life.  I have yet to hear him complain.  It  made my heart glow as I watched mom carefully place a chair for him to use while he guided the straw bales down the chute to the elevator.  He is a true farmer at heart.  After the wagon is unloaded and removed, mom always rakes the loose straw and adds it to one of the calf pens.  I had to snap my picture quickly, because she is efficient and fast!

No day is complete without something quilty going on.  Early this morning I finished sewing together these gigantic blocks for the Christmas in July Quilt Along going on over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.   I'm having fun following this quilt along.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Christmas in July and a book review of No Way Up

July is the one month out of the year that I do not work in the office at school.  For one whole month I get to be home all I want, sew, garden, play in my flower beds, and be a full time dairy farmer's wife.

For the past 6 days I have been enjoying the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop hosted by Sarah at Confessions of A Fabric Addict.  I have enjoyed reading new to me blogs and being inspired with a lot of ideas for Christmas gifts.  I am also loving the Quilt Along Sara is running simultaneously.  For 1 hour or less a day, we will have a completed Christmas quilt top in just 12 days.  Sara has done a phenomenal job with her easy to follow tutorial.  It's not to late for you to jump in and join the fun.  I couldn't resist laying a block out with the segments we have finished.  It makes me anxious to see the finished result!
Last night I finished quilting a lap quilt for my daughter.  It is a belated house warming gift.  She and her husband moved into their newly remodeled house in February.  This morning I sewed the binding onto the quilt, and all that is left is hand stitching the binding down.  I will most likely do that while watching America's Got Talent tonight.

One other thing I love to do during my month off, is take time to lay on a quilt out in my yard, and read.  It is a guilty pleasure that brings back memories of doing the same thing during the summer months when I was a child.

No Way Up, by Mary Connealy is my latest read.  It is a good, lay in the sun and let your imagination take you west, sort of book.  For those of you who have read the Kincaid Brides trilogy, this book continues the story of the youngest Kincaid brother, Heath.  This book does stand on it's own and you do not need to read the others for the storyline to make sense.  However, I'm guessing you'll want to find the other three and read them after reading No Way Up.  Heath Kincaid is working as a hand on the Cimarron Ranch when disaster strikes in the form of an avalanche.   The ranch patriarch is caught and gravely injured in the slide.  Heath discovers that the avalanche may have been intentionally set and works with the Boden siblings to find out who is working against them and why.   As always, Mary Connealy has done a fine job of bringing the characters to life.  This book was given to me by the publisher for an honest opinion.

Friday, July 15, 2016

College Quilt Top Finish!

 My oldest son will be leaving for Cedarville University in August.  I have been working on his quilt off and on for the past two months.  Today I finished putting on the final borders and it's ready to ship off to the quilter!  I am so happy with the way it turned out.

I also finished Day 2 for the Christmas in July Quilt Along  hosted by Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.  Check out her 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop!

I am now off to hang out my laundry.  Good drying day with the wind we've been having.  Enjoy your day!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Summer and 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop

A whole month has come and gone since I last posted anything!  Time is flying by, but I am also having the time of my life!  What have I been doing over this past month?  The following pictures give a little taste of what's been going on around here.

This garden will feed my family all winter!
Our ladies going out to the pasture after milking.
One of my favorite smells - fresh haybales.
I have been spending a lot of time outside, gardening and being the farmer's right-hand-woman.  I am loving every minute of it.  It's not all work, I am indulging in some summer reading in the hammock as well.

I haven't spent as much time sewing, but as Ecclesiastes tell us, "to everything there is a season".

Speaking of seasons, my favorite season is Christmas, and when I read that Sarah, from Confessions of a Fabric Addict was hosting "12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop, I was beyond excited.  She is also holding a quilt along and so I quickly looked through my stash of Christmas fabric so I could join in.  Today we received the instructions for cutting our fabric.  It's not to late for you to join in.  Head on over and check out the other bloggers who are joining in the blog hop for the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop.
I have my pieces cut and ready for tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

From This Moment

For the last few months I have found myself searching for a new author to read.  When I received this book by Elizabeth Camden, I was excited to find out what type of writer she was.  I have now found another author I enjoy.  

"From This Moment" has all you could want in a story line:  intrigue, love, conflict, and reconciliation.  Elizabeth did a wonderful job developing Stella West's character,  a strong-willed and independent woman attempting to find her sister's murderer.    The story takes place during the late 1800's while Boston is in the middle of building their subway system. Despite Stella's independent nature, she finds herself needing the help of Romulus, editor of a prominent Boston magazine with connections to powerful people within the city's government, when she finds evidence of corruption connecting her sister's death with money funding the subway system.

As a secondary story line we meet Romulus' cousin, Evelyn, and her estranged husband.  As Evelyn and Clyde worked to heal past hurts we see them coming to the realization that they can't continue to blame each other, they each needed to own up to their own faults and failings in their relationship. 

For the most part I enjoyed the book.  I found myself trying to solve the mystery along with Stella, but also found myself wanting to tune out a little with the overt flirtations between Stella and Romulus.  Even though I understand that the flirtations were part of the romantic story between them, I found it distracting when I was working so hard in my mind to solve the mystery.  

I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.  All opinions are my own and do not reflect the opinions of the publisher.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Book Review: Finding God in the Hard Time

Finding God in the Hard Times: Choosing to Trust, Hope, and Worship When You Can't See the Way  -     By: Matt Redman, Beth Redman

I was given this book by the publisher for an honest review.  Honestly, even though this book was well written, it didn't seem to apply to my life at this time.  Written to be a group book study, maybe I would have gotten more out of the book if I had discussed it with others.  Authors Matt and Beth Redman, encourage us to lament when times are tough and through those tough times, to find our place of praise for God's faithfulness and steadfast love.  There was one thought that stuck with me after reading this book.  "The church of God needs her songs of lament just as much as she needs her songs of victory."  (pg 37).  Even though I may not be going through a tough time right now, others are.  As a community, it is important to join others in their songs of lament and by doing so we are a strength and encouragement to them as they walk the dark valleys of life.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A Martyr's Grace

Grandmother's Garden
unfinished top, maker unknown

Life is so perfectly illustrated in textiles.  It takes thread, fabric, hard work, imagination, and the desire to create something when making a quilt.  We are inspired by quilts made in the past and present.  The lives of those who created the quilt are shown in their choice of color and fabric.  Without the collective stitches we would not have a quilt.

Our life is impacted by the collection of many experiences.  They may be experiences of our own or the influence of other people in our lives.  Collected like a patchwork quilt to create one interesting, purpose-filled life.

A Martyr's Grace: 21 Moody Bible Institute Alumni Who Gave Their Lives for Christ"Have you grace to be a martyr?"  D.L. Moody was once asked.  "No," he replied, "I have not.  But if God wanted me to be one, he would give me a martyr's grace."  So begins author Marvin J. Newell in the forward of his book, "A Martyr's Grace:  21 Moody Bible Institute Alumni Who Gave Their Lives For Christ.   I find that my personal faith is boosted when I read of other's experiences in their faith journey and as difficult as it was to read some of these stories, I found the need to take my own faith out and examine it.

As I read this book I was impressed with the passion each person felt in their call to go spread the gospel around the world.  Each person willingly gave their all to share the faith that they had in Jesus Christ. Reading this book has given me pause to stop and reflect on my own passions.  What am I giving my passion to?  Is it something worth dying for?  Is it worth anything for eternity?

The author has done a thorough job of researching each missionary, sometimes with little to go on.  He did not try to glorify the lives of the 21 men and women but told their stories just as he found them.  Human flaws and all.  The exciting thing is how each person's story, told in "A Martyr's Grace" not only impacted the people they were with at the time, but it continues to impact people today.

Just like quilts are purposeful for the immediate now, they continue to comfort, inspire, and provide warmth to people in the future.  Who are you impacting today and for what purpose?

*This book was given to me by Moody Publishers in return for an honest opinion, entirely my own.

Monday, May 2, 2016


Borders, what would we do without them?  As we were loading up cows on Saturday to bring them from the dry lot back to the farm where they will calve, I was thankful for borders.  Those fence borders made it much easier to contain those crazy kick up your heels kind of cows!

As it often does, my mind began to wander, thinking about how borders affect our lives.  Can we live without borders?  Sometime we should -- Love with out borders, spread joy without borders, and be kind without borders.  However, some borders are good -- it curbs our overeating, keeps us from spending more than we make, and keeps us from over extending our calendar.

What does this have to do with quilts, you might ask?  Well, Saturday was full of borders.  The fence kind and the quilt kind.  I finished up the border on my Smith Mountain Morning Quilt.  You can see my post about the Bonnie Hunter class I attended here.  I am so pleased with how it went together.  Now off to my long arm quilter it will go.  Next I tackled the t-shirt quilt I have been working on this past week.  I cut what fabric I had, thinking it was enough, but alas!  I was 20" short!  The shop where I purchased the fabric was already closed and is also closed on Mondays.  So I had to put it aside until I can pick up the extra fabric and then off to the quilter it will go.

I have found that I prefer quilts which have a smaller solid fabric framing the center of the quilt before the larger border is added.  I have also found that a quilt looks better if my border width is about 1/2 to 2/3 the size of the block in my quilt.  Any smaller and it looks puny next to the quilt.  Any larger and the center is dwarfed by the border.  As with anything in life, balance is the key.

And now I am going to leave you with a few more pictures from life on the farm.

Bandit, can't wait to herd those cows!

The senior farmer getting the trailer ready to load cows.

The farmer and son #2 corralling them into the trailer.
This morning went swimmingly well.  Sometimes it's a real rodeo!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Wednesday Night Strippers Quilt Guild

Friendship and conversation
are what it's all about!
I love the name of our local guild:  The Wednesday Night Stripper Quilt Guild.  When we are out selling raffle tickets, we always get a second glance and usually a comment or two about what we "really do"  on Wednesday Nights  It makes for a great conversation starter and some good old belly laughs.

Our monthly meeting was held this past Wednesday, and I want to share photos from our "Show and Tell".  We have a wide range of quilt styles within our group, but the same passion for textile and a desire to give back to our community.

If you have ever considered joining a guild, do!  Find one close to you and plug in.  I always come away inspired  and with a deeper love for my passion of quilting.  It also gives you a ready made set of friends who will help you figure out a pattern when you are stuck. Life is more interesting when you are part of a community.

Cathy Bush made this beautiful Trade Winds quilt.  Don't you want to cuddle up under this for movie night?
Sally made this woven rug from fabric strips.  How cool is that?  Another good way to use up left over strips.  I think I may have to try this because the current rug in my laundry room needs to be retired!

Sally also made this colorful baby quilt.

And busy beaver that Sally was over the winter, she had sent this off to be quilted and was seeing it for the first time since being quilted by our resident long armer, Cathy Bush.  I regret not getting a close up of the quilting.  The pattern was a raindrop with a spiral in the center.  Beautiful work by both Sally and Cathy.

Bev completed this delightful baby quilt.  Some little boy is going to be very lucky to receive this!

Earleen brought in a completed UFO - her "Fractured Quilt" looks so cool, giving it sort of a Monet painting effect.

Betty also completed a UFO and brought in her paper pieced table runner.  We began a challenge this year to complete our UFO's.  Anyone wanting to participate puts a $1 in the jar and then anytime you bring in a completed UFO project your name gets added to the drawing for prizes at the end of the year.

Gail's completed UFO.  This wall hanging was also paper pieced.  Don't you just love the vibrant colors?

There were a few more Show and Tells, but I was unable to get a good picture of them.  Next time!  Thank you ladies for sharing.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Bay View Calico Quilt Shop

Like any fabricholic, I love quilt shops.  But as the saying goes, "Wherever I roam, there's no place like home."  My hometown quilt shop is still my favorite.  It is the place I go to chat with friends, pet fabric, figure out a conundrum with my latest project, and of course buy a yard or two from the new fabric line that has just arrived!  We all need a place like this, and I recognize that I am blessed to have a quilt shop just 7 minutes from my front door.  I wish everyone could be so blessed! Come take a little stroll with me...

Even though the building is made up of two large rooms, I love how shop owner, Evelyn Griffore, has made cozy nooks, each with it's own color way or fabric type.  

Batiks, and Patterns, and Batting, Oh My!!!

Do you like embroidery or redwork?  She has a nice variety available.

The children's section is always cheery and invites you to dream of babies and toddlers snugged up in a quilt of your making.

I am amazed at the changing display on her walls.  No matter how often I go to the shop, there is always something new.

Shop owner, Evelyn Griffore

Another little nook inviting you to spend awhile.

If you ever find yourself making your way up the east side of Michigan and happen to find yourself driving through a little town called Au Gres.  Take some time to stop and dream at Bay View Calico.  You will find her shop right on US 23, about 2 miles north of Au Gres.  She is located just before the VFW hall.  Hope to meet you there someday!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My Name is Mahtob

In my early teens I remember overhearing my mom and aunt periodically talking about the story portrayed in the movie, "Not Without My Daughter".    My aunt lived in the Middle East at the time.   I had forgotten this memory until I found the book "My Name is Mahtob: The Story that Began the Global Phenomenon Not Without My Daughter Continues".  I was curious to see what Mahtob remembered and how she dealt with the trauma in her childhood.

The book is written in an easy to read style.  I felt like I was sitting over a cup of tea and listening to a friend share the story of her life.  My heart hurt, cried, and cheered with Mahtob as she shared the painful memories of childhood and the victorious emotional healing she has experienced.  I was impressed with Mahtob's mother and her unwillingness to speak ill of Mahtob's father.  Her mother was careful to instill in Mahtob a love for her Persian heritage and made sure Mahtob understood that she was free to contact her father if she so choose to.   Domestic violence is an awful epidemic that seems to be prevalent in today's world.  It was encouraging to read how someone has risen above the destruction of domestic violence and emerged an emotionally healthy and vibrant woman.  I highly recommend you pick this book up the next time you are looking for something to read.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Beginner's Class

On Saturday I taught the first of 3 sessions for a beginner's class.  We are making Little Charmer Quilt from Cut Loose Press, designed by Joan Ford.  I had five quilters ranging from age 10 to 50+.  This is only the 3rd class I've ever taught and so I am still learning.  There is nothing more enjoyable, I've decided, than helping other people find their inner love of quilting.

Pat brought Mikayla and stayed to be her right hand woman!  Mikayla has a great eye for color and I love the purple she chose for her 4 patch blocks.

Patty pairing up fabrics and matching those seams so that her points come out perfect!

Sue and Colleen (mother and daugher-in laws) enjoyed chatting while chain piecing.

Rachel, my niece, learning to use the rotary cutter.

Everyone completed all 42 of their 4 patch squares.  They went home with homework - square up those babies!  Next month we will meet back together to start strip piecing the sashing and then begin assembling the blocks into a lovely lap quilt.